Budget & Planning

Budget Process Timeline

A budget is prepared annually, detailing revenues and expenditures for the College's operating funds. The annual operating budget is prepared to coincide with the fiscal year of the College, July 1 to June 30. The Board of Trustees of Emerson College has ultimate responsibility for approving the annual operating budget and for determining if the budget is prepared in accordance with College policy.

Budget Process

Below is a listing of events that take place during the Budget Process:

  • Distribution of Budget Request Forms
  • Return of Completed Budget Requests to appropriate Vice President
  • Submission of Vice President approved Budget Requests to Finance
  • Finance review and compilation of Budget Requests
  • Submission to President for final review
  • Approval by Board of Trustees
  • The tasks and related time sequence for preparing the annual operating budget are documented and disseminated to appropriate College personnel by the Controller as part of the standard Budget Request Package.

The Finance Office disseminates a Budget Memorandum and instructions to provide the guidelines for administrators and department heads to plan their budgets for the fiscal year. The issuance of this memo initiates the College's annual budget preparation process.

The Finance Office is responsible for soliciting completed Budget Request Forms from College departments. The Office of the Controller then analyzes budget requests with respect to their accuracy, completeness and appropriate documentation. The Office of the Controller performs an initial review and drafts a preliminary budget for discussions with College Administrators and Vice Presidents. Once the final budget is approved, the Office of the Controller will notify departments of changes.

The Office of the Controller is also responsible for the review and processing of subsequent budget revisions. Revisions to the approved budget require written approval of the Vice President presiding over the department or program initiating the revision request. The revision request must then gain written approval of the Vice President for Administration and Finance to be incorporated into the overall budget.

Distribution and Preparation of Budget Request Forms

Budget Request Forms are distributed to appropriate College departments and programs with the Budget Memorandum and Data Sheet. These forms are the vehicle by which administrators and department heads develop and present their budget requests. College personnel have approximately four weeks to complete and return their budget requests. The Office of the Controller will maintain a record indicating the departments and persons responsible for preparing budget requests to help control the distribution and return of all forms.

The heads of departments, programs, and offices are responsible for typing budget requests on the provided forms in accordance with instructions on the budget data sheet. Once complete, the department head retains a copy and forwards the original forms to the appropriate Vice President who then forwards them to Finance.

The Department Head responsible for completing budget request forms should retain work papers and schedules utilized in budget preparation as justification for his or her respective request.

The College's operating budget summary prepared by finance must undergo various review tiers before final adoption by the Board of Trustees.

Capital Budget Preparation

The College's annual capital budget is prepared in conjunction with the operating budget. College department heads and administrators are requested to complete budget requests by category (Capital Equipment, Computer Equipment & Renovations). These requests are part of the standard operating Budget Request Form. Requests are submitted with justification to the Office of the Controller. Capital expenditures related to the purchase of capital equipment (such as furniture, cabinets, etc.), computer equipment (printers, monitors, etc.) and departmental renovation items in excess of $1000 will be depreciated in accordance with the college's policy.

The capital budget receives final adoption and is distributed by the Office of the Controller to appropriate College parties.

Budget Review Detailed

College Vice Presidents meet with their department heads before the Budget Request Forms are completed and submitted to the Finance Office. During this review, the Vice Presidents are briefed as to each department's budget details and may initiate changes.

The Finance Office performs initial reviews of the budget summary. During this review unusual or questionable items are discussed, significant issues to be addressed later in the process are identified, trends within the department are analyzed.

After the initial reviews, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, Associate Vice President for Finance meet the College Vice Presidents to review the budget summary, if necessary. During these sessions, questions and outstanding issues are addressed. At the conclusion of this phase, agreed upon revisions are input by the Office of the Controller resulting in an updated budget summary.

A final recommended budget is prepared by Finance and then presented to the President and Board of Trustees for final review and adoption.

Distribution of Approved Budget

With the Board's approval, the final adopted College budget is prepared. The Office of the Controller inputs the final budget on Banner upon completion of any necessary revisions before the beginning of the fiscal year.